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Service Modeling Language Manages IT Assets


SML's common language aims to be the foundation for improving information-sharing among third-party IT management products and for enabling new levels of automation in key areas such as provisioning, monitoring and internal compliance. IT shops should find it easier to federate CMDBs using third-party data stores and discovery tools.

SML's supporters are a who's who of IT vendors: BEA Systems, BMC Software, Cisco Systems, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

If SML's initial backers remain committed once the specification is given over to an independent standards body, it will find broad acceptance among major hardware, software and management vendors. Uptake may also be contingent on management interfaces such as WSDM and WS-Management.

A high-powered working group is striving to improve IT management and data-center automation with a common language to describe heterogeneous IT assets. The Service Modeling Language is an XML-based schema to define, or model, information about hardware, software, applications and services.

This common language will make it easier to share information among disparate IT tools and provide a foundation for automating common tasks, such as application provisioning, configuration management and asset monitoring. SML also is being positioned as a way to overcome the barriers to federation and reconciliation of disparate data in CMDBs (configuration management databases).

The outlook for the standard is a good one, judging by the big vendors that have backed it and the progress made thus far: The most recent draft of the specification was released in Nov. 2006, and the specification may be submitted to a standards body this quarter.

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